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A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical School 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226893273
ISBN-10: 0226893278
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Drawing on an impressive amount of original, empirical research and written in an engaging style, A Heart for the Work is an extremely interesting look at medical training in Malawi. Wendland argues that trainee doctors, facing an enormous gap between the ideals of their training and the conditions of medical practice, forge their own set of practical ethics and their own professional culture." - Megan Vaughan, University of Cambridge"

About the Author

Claire L. Wendland is assistant professor in the departments of Anthropology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and honorary senior lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Malawi College of Medicine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226893278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226893273
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This intimate and richly contextualized study of medical education in Malawi paints a vivid picture of how western medicine is being taught, internalized, adapted and owned by African medical students and physicians. Wendland begins by describing the role that medicine has played in Malawi's history; the detailed and nuanced picture provides the reader with a deep understanding of a particular African reality, as well a framework for viewing the role of medicine in other African settings and globally. Wendland follows the students from their villages and and preparatory schools, through their academic training, and on to their first days of service in African hospitals. This journey provides insight into how the students experience the promise of medicine, as well as it's shortcomings, and also shows how they bring their own history, culture, and life experience to their medical practice. The work is further enhanced by first person narratives of the medical students recorded during their training and early years of practice, as well as several case studies of patients that illustrate the fullness and power of viewing health and disease through an anthropological lens. Wendland's evocative prose and unflinching self-awareness complement these other elements, making "a heart for the work," an example of medical anthropology at its best.
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Claire Wendland provides the reader with an inside account of her journey in West Africa, from her accounts of being a student and to later going back to research how young doctors continue to make it in this unfavorable system. In this work of fiction Wendland offers an insight into the struggles that West African doctors and medical students face due to lack of funds, and a corrupt government. Although one has to persevere through the first chapter or two of the book due to it’s more technical aspect once one gets to the raw core of the book, it’s hard to put it down. This is because of the students eye witness accounts that are introduced. This book offered a glance into the medical world in West Africa, and how it is the complete opposite of what people know of in Northern countries. She let’s readers know the struggles that come with working in a third world country, and how health is put on the back burner. However, she does allow the reader to see that even though funds are low, innovation is not. The doctors that the readers will meet, demonstrate a high level of intelligence as they make up for their lack of supplies with reused goods. She also allows the ignorance surrounding African health systems to be lifted, and shows just how difficult and consuming it is to take the responsibility of a doctor is in this country. She allows the reader to see just how the lack of funds make saving lives an out of the ordinary experience, and how most people still turn to traditional means of health care such as herbs, and home remedies. This happens for one of two reasons. They are untrusting of biomedicine and also the cost is too much for them.Read more ›
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A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical School
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